Deep in the trenches: understanding the dynamics of New York City’s front line workforce development staff

December 7, 2012. Recognition of the crucial role played by front line workforce development workers led Workforce Professionals Training Institute and the Fiscal Policy Institute to undertake a study of this profession in New York City. The objective was to analyze the current state of these jobs and the workers who hold them, with a particular emphasis on issues such as job satisfaction, training, and advancement opportunities, for the purpose of improving the quality of outcomes that workforce professionals are responsible for delivering.

The report concludes with policy recommendations addressed to front line workers, supervisors and senior staff, and workforce development funders. These recommendations are intended to improve the employment practices affecting front line workforce development professionals. A diverse and strong skill set, along with improved morale and the opportunity to advance, can, in turn, enhance performance and the quality of outcomes attained for an organization. Specific recommendations are presented for management staff, front line workers, and sector leaders and funders.

Management

  • Respond to front line workers’ interest in training.
  • Respond to front line workers’ interest in advancement.
  • Capitalize on front line workers’ creativity.
  • Examine retention of front line workers.
  • Recognize the impact that budget cuts have on staff.
  • Address the need for continued leadership development for managers.
  • Openly address staff development needs with funders.
  • Capitalize on your organization’s investments in front line worker training by following through with implementation.

Front line workers

  • Map out a career plan.
  • Recognize that the benefits of training are dependent on implementation.
  • Consider opportunities to diversify skills to enhance job performance and long term career potential.
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities.
  • Find a mentor.

Sector leaders and funders

  • Incorporate funding for training into contracts.
  • Act on this report’s findings and recommendations.